Petros Themelis, son of the poet George Themelis, was born in Thessaloniki. He is married and father of a son. 1959 graduated in Classics and Archaeology from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki. He acquired his doctorate with a thesis under the title “Frühgriechische Grabbauten” submitted to the Department of Archaeology of the University of Munich, Germany in 1972 and published by Zabern Verlag in 1976 (Mainz). From 1960 to 1963 he worked as scientific assistant at the Archaeological District of Western Macedonia and participated in excavations at Thessaloniki, Pella, Vergina, Derveni and Stratoni of Chalcidike under the direction of Professors Photios Petsas, Charalambos Makaronas and Manolis Andronicos. From 1963 to 1980 he served as Curator and Ephor of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities at the Archaeological Districts of Elis – Messenia, Attica – Euboea, Phocis – Aetolia and Acarnania. From 1977 to 1980 he was director of the Delphi Museum, and from 1980 to 1984 director of the “Service for Palaeo-anthropology and Cave Research” at Athens.
In 1984 he was elected Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Crete. From 1987 to 1989 he was Vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs and President of the Research Committee of the same University. From 1985 to 2003 he directed the University excavation (Sector I) at ancient Eleutherna on Crete; since 1986 he is directing the “Excavation and Restoration Project of Ancient Messene” on the part of the Archaeological Society at Athens, financed by the Greek Ministry of Culture and the European Community.
Petros Themelis published more than 200 scientific articles dealing with ancient Greek architecture, sculpture, topography, iconography, epigraphy, cult and burial customs, as well as annual archaeological reports in the Proceedings of the Greek Archaeological Society, guide books for archaeological sites and museums in Greece, review articles, articles in encyclopedias and translations from German into Greek. Also, he is the author of ten monographs.
He is member of scientific Societies, Archaeological Institutes and Committees in Greece and abroad (Archaeological Society at Athens, Society of Euboean Studies, German Archaeological Institute, Austrian Archaeological Institute, ICOM and ICOMOS, Corresponding Member of the Archaeological Institute of America, Vise President of the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments, President of the Scientific Committee for the Conservation and Restoration of the Messene Monuments, President of the Society for Messenian Archaeological Studies). The University of Crete and various Organizations, Schools, Cities and Municipalities of Messenia and Crete honored him with medals and distinctions. In 2016 he was named honorary Professor of the University of the Peloponnese.
In 2005 he was decorated with the “Gold Cross of the Phoenix Order” by the President of the Hellenic Republic Konstandinos Stephanopoulos. In 2016 he was decorated with the “Highest Gold Cross of the Phoenix Order” by the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos.